[sic] Magazine

Euromancer – Love it or loathe it, Eurovision is the perfect night in

One month on (I never made any claims for [sic] being topical!) and the dust has well and truly settled on the Eurovision Song Contest. I’ll wager that the competition passed 99% of this readership by. Why oh why would fans of leading, groundbreaking, underground music show even a flicker of interest at Europe’s flagship blandfest? I’ll tell you why…. it is bloody hilarious. Eurovision is music’s equivalent of a rotten tomato movie, and is best enjoyed when it hits ‘so bad it’s good’ mode.

Those of you who regard Eurovision as a waste of time are coming at it from the wrong angle. Of course it is a waste of time. That’s television. That’s what TV was invented for, to waste our time and Eurovision does so gloriously. We need to turn our thinking around, celebrate the sheer awfulness of Eurovision and gasp at the heights its depths reach. So next year, when the show comes to us from sunny Azerbaijan invite some friends, fire up the barbecue, then gather around the telly (with recreational substances of choice) … none of you will be disappointed. In-between the boy bands, dazzling teeth and impossible skirts there are occasional flashes of genius. Witness Moldova’s Zdob si Zdub , who won my heart (and vote) with the truly ridiculous ‘So Lucky’. Pointy hats, a girl on a unicycle and a middle-eight that seemed to belong to a different song, these things only tell half the story. My wife, deemed it a fusion of Carnival and Punk while my good friend Ralf (from Dead Guitars) spotted the Franz Ferdinand influence. Who am I to argue with either, but the performance was absolutely breathtaking (and nothing whatsoever to do with the Margaritas we were imbibing.) This is why we watch Eurovision. This is why Eurovision, however fleetingly, occasionally stuns.

So Lucky

Of course the rest is largely dross. Not much of a ‘return on investment ‘ you might argue, – one moment of marvel within a largely unlistenable two hours. Then again, it’s about the same ratio as a typical John Peel show! This year’s winner, Azerbaijan’s Ell & Nikki , was one of the most insipid duets you’ll ever hear. It couldn’t possibly have won anything. Ell & Nikki……? You’d be better entertained by Little Nicky (film). But Eurovision is a celebration of banality so the biggest turd is always likely to float to the top.

No, there isn’t much joy to be had picking winners, nor in supporting the UK (we’re probably more popular at FIFA right now) We watch instead for the idiocy of it all. There are only two paths to victory anyway. Either you have to serve up Europe’s lowest common denominator or you go ‘left field’. That said, Eurovision’s idea of risky is pretty tame (Remember Lordi ?) This year all we had was a slice of power-Goth from Georgia during which the word ‘embarrassing’ sprung to mind. Then we had Italy’s entry, a confused stab at what I can only describe as barbershop jazz. The only thing less certain than the songs genre was its key. Even the singer looked sheepish.

It came second.

Part way through Iceland’s truly wretched entry I allowed myself to be briefly distracted by the thought of an Indie Eurovision. Poor old Iceland, I thought, they deserve better than this. When you think of Sugarcubes , Sigur Rós , Múm , Stafrænn Hákon …. The same is true across Europe. When you think of it, we could have a blinding Indie Eurovision.

It’ll never happen.

More’s the point, if it ain’t broken, why fix it and Eurovision 2011 was a dazzling display of silliness, crud and mind-shattering dullness. You need not stay awake for the voting. This is largely irrelevant anyway. UK will come nowhere. If you allow yourself to care about anyone , you’re already lost. The only points of interest here are the tactics. Bizarre alliances spring up. Greece votes for Turkey. Former Soviet nations show a liking for each other. I’d swear, if Palestine were in the competition, they’d give Israel Dix Points . Perhaps the whole point of it all is not to win. Perhaps Eurovision is like a game of Hearts , and winning is the equivalent of being left with the Queen Of Spades in your hand.

Hats off to the German hosts. The venue, sets and lighting were superb. Kudos too for Graham Norton who filled Terry Wogan’s vacant slot (oh please) effortlessly. So do be sure to catch the video from Zdob si Zdub and stick Azerbaijan, 2012 in your diaries. It’ll be rude not to.